Sunday, October 24, 2010

prairie hills--how long does it take?

Of course everyone wants to know how long it takes to make a quilt. It's just one of those questions that I get asked all the time. All artists that I know get asked that question. Some are able to answer in terms of the number of days or weeks or years that a piece takes. Some answer that it takes a life time. "Forever," I frequently answer. Or sometimes I explain that I just can't say. After all, I spend a lot of time thinking about the piece before I begin it. And I do rely on all of the past quilts that I have made to instruct me for the current piece. These little tricks can be invaluable.

Now, if you may remember I had gone fabric shopping recently. Got some of the most intriguing fabrics--reminded me of feedsack cloth. Reproduction fabric from the Civil War. I had even made some placemats to learn to use this fabric. Here is the blog post.

Time to start. I was thinking of those hills on the prairie--summer time. A hint of dryness in the air. Haunting colors. I knew I wanted to make it similar to desert hills.

So I began piecing. The first couple of rows came together rather easily. Sure each block seemed like it took--well, I must say it--forever. But I did know what I was doing.

I stopped a bit before using this fabric--it references complex Indian fabric. Memories of the British empire.

But it worked. Isn't that sparkle of warmth and light wonderful in the quilt.

 I add another row. The colors are becoming haunting. Now the main question is what color to use on the bottom two rows. Luckily I have one more row to piece and it is quitting time so I pin up a color that I was thinking of. Too red. It overwhelms the softness of the colors.

I try another one. No. I like the softer effect but it still seems too red.

One more try. Maybe a more golden brown with hints of green. Not what I would have thought when I began the piece.

Actually that might work. Time to make a test sample.

Yes, that seems to be working.

What do you think? Time to sew it together. Now that is something that also seems to take forever. But I think of the quilt after this one. Maybe another green one. A slightly darker green. Just a hint of blue. Maybe I can use the redder browns this time. Or maybe I want to use rust tones and olives. So many quilts. So little time. And each one does seem to take forever.

And you, how long does it take you to make a quilt? Or maybe a picture? A new recipe? How do you answer that question? Any suggestions?


  1. It's hard to explain how long things take. Photos of the process are priceless. We can follow your thoughts (or at least a few of the more usable ones ...) Having just worked on two landscapes, I appreciate these color choices. (I'm looking forward to seeing this one finished.)

  2. Lol ann, we all get those questions. I usually say 'a very long time'. :D Nice work going on here.

  3. Well said! Yes, all the thinking time and the pauses while it sits on the design wall until it tells me what it wants next - or when I stop myself before I get in a color/ fabric rut. Sometimes, like now, I have more than one project on the go so that I don't force the process.

    I've asked for a second design wall for my birthday.